How to improve at Billiards (Pool)


Improving on the game of billiards involves discipline, consistency, technique, patience, experimentation, learning, and conditioning of the mind and the body. Stance and grip are the two primary parameters which you need to practice. Training from the professionals, access to the quality equipment, watching the professionals play (live on line), and the identification of the self strengths, weaknesses, and limitations are the key elements to progress. They help in identifying and avoiding mistakes in every practice sessions and the live games. Speed, control, and accuracy are some of the factors that can improve your playing efficiency ahead of your training/playing level.

Practice the Stance and Position

The stance and position helps you balance your bodyweight along the line of the shot. It eliminates the possibility of miscue and gets the accuracy level you want. Your stance should allow the stroking arm to move freely without any obstruction. At eh same time your stance has to be natural. Aligning your body behind the shot is one way of achieving it.

  • Billiards Table: The height and the dimension of the billiards table determine the balanced position of your body, leg and feet. The standard dimension of the table is 2:1 length X width. The standards lengths are 9-feet, 8.5-feet, and 7-feeet. The standard playing surface is 50” X 100”. It allows you to bend forward with your torso flat over your pelvis region. You can afford to keep your legs straight and the feet at an angle of 45-degrees to the aiming line. Make sure your body weight is exactly at the center of your legs and feet.
  • Foot Position: Keep the foot position parallel to the line of your aim. This is the initial stance you take. Then you can change your foot position to an angle of 45-degrees to the line of aim.
  • Leg Position: You may choose to keep both the legs straight or both legs slightly bent forward, or the front foot slightly bent and the hind leg straight. It depends on your comfort. You can adjust the position dynamically according to your convenience.
  • Shoulder Position: The shoulder position depends on the type of shot. In most cases it is at an angle of 90-degrees to the cue.
  • Hand Position: The bridge hand usually stays stationary, while the striking hand moves forward and backward freely. Your torso and the pelvis move accordingly. But the legs and feet stay stationary.
  • Stance Types: Snooker stance, pool stance, side on stance, and low stance are some of the basic types. In low stance, the chin stays close to the cue. You get better visibility over the cue and the cue ball, along with the object ball. Side-on stance allows you to keep the legs and the feet along the length of the pool cue. Whichever stance you choose, the position of your head, neck, shoulders, hands, and eyes should be in line with the bridge hand and the striking hand.

Work on the Grip

The two basic grips are the light and tight. The standard length of the cue is 59”. The striking hand holds the grip, while the other hand balances the bridge. The thumb and the index finger provide the main grip. The cue rests on your middle finger. You can get added power while striking the cue ball. The light grip allows you to increase the cue flow rate it will also help you keep the strike straight and avoid miscues. By holding the tight grip, it is possible to increase the speed of the cue ball. But you have to bend your wrist and flex your elbow to add extra strength to the stroke. It is highly useful while playing the nip-draw strokes.

Balance the Control

Balancing the control depends on the coordination between the stroking hand and the bridge hand. Open bridge, closed bridge, rail-bridge, elevated bridge, and mechanical bridge are some of the positions of the bridge hand. The open bridge is useful for the beginners to get a better hold on the pool cue. Te V- groove is the most commonly used place-holder to direct your strokes. It also helps in improving your aiming and accuracy in the initial stages. Shooting the cue-ball from the rail becomes easy when you use the open bridge. You can also shoot the cue ball over another ball by using the elevated open bridge. The closed bridge is useful when you want a better control over the cue and avoid miscues. Once you start practicing with the different types of grips and bridges, it is possible to get a better control over you strokes.

Get the Defenses

The standard pool strokes are the break-shot, slip; masse, force-follow, kiss, pendulum canon, rail-road shot, and postman’s stroke are some of the types of shot you can play in billiards. There are hundreds of other types which depend on the nature of game you play. The defensive strokes allow you to place the cue-ball in a comfortable position for the next shot. They may not necessarily help you pocket the object ball, but they can help prevent the opponent from taking an advantageous position in his next stroke and put you in a better position. For example, you may play this shot when the object ball is stuck near the rail and you wish to move it to the center or other comfortable spot on the table. Once you learn the defensive strokes, it is possible to increase your safety level and put the opponent into a tough position.

Go on the Offense

Offensive stroke are used for pocketing the ball, clearing the obstacles, and preparing the ground for the next shot.  For example, the frozen bank shot helps you pocket the ball without any errors. The other shot is the stun-shot which helps in getting the frozen ball out into the playable position. Similarly, you can practice many other offensive shots which will fetch you points and pockets.

Learn to Experiment

Once you start experimenting with your game during the initial training period, it is possible to improve your billiards. My suggestion is don’t hesitate to make mistakes in the training period. They help you in identifying your limitations and to overcome them.

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Hello, I'm a 100% Geek and Pool Player , I Love Programming and Website Designing. Part Time article & Review writer.